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CHAPTER 9 CREATING WEB-BASED TESTWARE
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having the person behind the counter get them for you, but not letting you go back and get them yourself.
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Figure 9-1. Web vs. Windows applications To set up a website, you need to configure the web server to use a particular folder as a web share and then place the files you want shared into that folder. If you install Microsoft s free web server, Internet Information Server (IIS), a default web share is created for you in a folder called wwwroot. You can find this folder on the same drive that the operating system is installed on; in most cases, this drive is usually C:\. The folder itself is a subfolder of another folder called Inetpubs. Any files you place in here will be accessible through the web server by typing out the proper address. As an example, let s say you ve made the test.htm file mentioned earlier and placed it in this folder. Using your local computer, you could request the test.htm file from IIS by typing the http://LocalHost/test.htm address (see Figure 9-2). The web server would find the file, read it, and send back to your browser the contents of the file.
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Figure 9-2. Browing the web page To understand the address, consider that when viewing web pages you use the HyperText Transport Protocol (HTTP) and not something like the File Transfer Protocol (FTP). Since most browsers are capable of using more than one transport protocol, most require that you specify which protocol you want to use.
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CHAPTER 9 CREATING WEB-BASED TESTWARE
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Of course, you also need to specify the file you want. However, in this case, you do not need to specify in which share the file is found. This is because the web server will use the default share, wwwroot, if you do not specify otherwise. When your web application is made up of a set of web pages, it is common to create a separate folder for that set of pages. Using these subfolders allows a webmaster to organize the web files, as well as set specific security and configuration settings. Sometimes this folder will be a subfolder within the wwwroot folder, but it can also be in other folders as well. As you saw in this example, you can connect to the web server by using the keyword LocalHost for the server name. This tells the browser to connect to the same computer the web browser is running on. Other options you can use to do the same thing include using 127.0.0.1 or the actual name of the computer.
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Note Since web-server setup and administration is beyond the scope of this book, we designed the exercises in this chapter so that you will not need IIS installed or configured to complete them. Still, if you want to investigate some of the features we mention in this chapter, be aware that Windows XP Home Edition does not support IIS. This means that if you are using that OS or if IIS is just not installed on your PC, you will not be able to duplicate some of the screens shown in this chapter. Also, you should know that since Window 2000 and XP Professional come installed with IIS by default; hackers the world over have had great fun creating viruses that infect computers using IIS. Make sure you always update IIS with the latest security patches to avoid potential virus attacks. Lastly, Windows 2003 include a newer, more secure version of IIS, but this new version is not installed by default and even after it is, some of the features mentioned in this chapter may be turned off. The Help files that come with Windows 2003 are quite useful in configuring and troubleshooting this version of IIS.
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As mentioned earlier, when your web pages contain only simple text and HTML code, you only need a web browser to process the HTML instructions. However, when accessing other programs through a web server, such as a database application, you need specialized technologies to get the job done. Common ones you may have heard of include these: Perl, in combination with CGI PHP ASP ASP.NET The first two are open source technologies, while the last two are from Microsoft. However, all four are used in much the same way. In this chapter, we will focus on the Microsoft technologies, but no matter which of these you use, the methods and properties in these technologies will be accessed through some kind of .exe or .dll file using languages other than HTML. Because of this, you need to tell the web server which .exe or .dll file to reference when it needs to process commands. The most common way to do this is to configure the web server to reference the correct file based on the different file extensions. For example, when a file with the .asp extension is requested, the web server will send the code in the file over to a .dll called ASP.dll for processing. This mapping to an extension is configured through one of the settings
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